If you’ve been eating healthy and exercising for months in preparation for ‘bikini season,’ the last thing you want is a big bloated belly on a crowded beach day. We call that a bikini buzzkill.
Bloating is the feeling of over-fullness, as if your stomach has swollen past its normal size. This is the result of trapped gas in your stomach or intestines. Some people think that if they eat less, they’ll avoid bloating; however, it’s not always how much you eat, but what you eat that causes the dreaded condition.
Foods to Avoid
To prevent bloating, stay away from these nasty culprits:
1. Fatty foods
Fatty foods are the biggest culprit. Fat interrupts the digestion process, hindering your stomach from emptying properly. If you reduce fat from your diet, you’ll very often eliminate bloating altogether.
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If you’re thinking of enjoying a quick bowl of cereal or white toast before heading to the pool, think again! Carbs can contribute to excess gas that will, in turn, lead to bloating.
3. Carbonated drinks
Soda and other carbonated beverages naturally add bubbles to your stomach, so unless you don’t mind belching or passing gas, you’ll most likely end up bloated.
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4. Any of these foods…
Beans(you know that old jingle, beans, beans, good for your heart…? That should be a hint!), lettuce, chewing gum, hard candy, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
“But What If…?”: How To Beat the Bloat
Just in case someone makes you a meal that includes all the bloating culprits, and you just cannot refuse, don’t worry – there are other steps you can take to alleviate this uncomfortable feeling.
1. Eat and drink slowly
This prevents air from slipping down your throat along with your food and beverage.
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2. Skip the straw
Drinking through a straw is a sure way to take in unwanted air (and can cause wrinkles around your mouth over time)!
3. Take a walk
If you can, take a walk after you eat to get any gas to rise to the surface and prevent bloating.
Anxiety can cause you to swallow air. Try a calming technique, like deep breathing or meditation, to control your anxiety.
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5. Stay hydrated
Don’t forget to drink water to help you stay regular and prevent bloating.
6. Increase your dietary fiber
This will keep your bowels flowing smoothly every day.
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If you’ve tried all these steps and bloating persists, keep a food record of what you’ve eaten when you’re experiencing discomfort. The culprit could be a specific food that affects you adversely!
If that doesn’t work, your distended tummy could be a symptom of a medical condition. Stress, smoking, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, lactose intolerance or gastrointestinal infections can all cause bloating, so be sure to consult your doctor if the problem persists!
The thought of bloat on a beach day is enough to make anyone cover up with a towel. Avoid the bloat by avoiding the food culprits – and even if you must eat these foods, take precautions, like avoiding straws and increasing your fiber intake. You’ll beat the bloat and look sexy as ever!
Dr. Shawn Khodadadian of Manhattan Gastroenterology is one of New York’s top gastroenterologists. He is currently an attending physician at Lenox Hill Hospital and serves as the Director of clinical nutrition. He is also clinical instructor at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Photo by – Devon